Molecular and cellular neurosciences [journal]
- Anti-amyloidogenic effects of glycosphingolipid synthesis inhibitors occur independently of ganglioside alterations. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jul 1.:63-70.
Evidence has suggested that ganglioside abnormalities may be linked to the proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and that pharmacological inhibition of ganglioside synthesis may reduce amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) production. In this study, we assessed the usefulness of two well-established glycosphingolipid (GSL) synthesis inhibitors, the synthetic ceramide analog D-PDMP (1-phenyl 2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol) and the iminosugar N-butyldeoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ or miglustat), as anti-amyloidogenic drugs in a human cellular model of AD. We found that both GSL inhibitors were able to markedly inhibit Aβ production, although affecting differently the APP cleavage. Surprisingly, the L-enantiomer of PDMP, which promotes ganglioside accumulation, acted similarly to D-PDMP to inhibit Aβ production. Concurrently, both D- and L-PDMP strongly and equally reduced the levels of long-chain ceramides. Altogether, our data suggested that the anti-amyloidogenic effects of PDMP agents are independent of the altered cellular ganglioside composition, but may result, at least in part, from their ability to reduce ceramide levels. Moreover, our current study established for the first time that NB-DNJ, a drug already used as a therapeutic for Gaucher disease (a lysosomal storage disorder), was also able to reduce Aβ production in our cellular model. Therefore, our study provides novel information regarding the possibilities to target amyloidogenic processing of APP through modulation of sphingolipid metabolism and emphasizes the potential of the iminosugar NB-DNJ as a disease modifying therapy for AD.
- An electrophysiological study on the effects of BDNF and FGF2 on voltage dependent Ca(2+) currents in developing human striatal primordium. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jun 28.:50-62.
Over the past decades, studies in both Huntington's disease animal models and pilot clinical trials have demonstrated that replacement of degenerated striatum and repair of circuitries by grafting fetal striatal primordium is feasible, safe and may counteract disease progression. However, a better comprehension of striatal ontogenesis is required to assess the fetal graft regenerative potential. During neuronal development, neurotrophins exert pleiotropic actions in regulating cell fate and synaptic plasticity. In this regard, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) are crucially implicated in the control of fate choice of striatal progenitor cells. In this study, we intended to refine the functional features of human striatal precursor (HSP) cells isolated from ganglionic eminence of 9-12week old human fetuses, by studying with electrophysiological methods the effect of BDNF and FGF2 on the membrane biophysical properties and the voltage-dependent Ca(2+) currents. These features are particularly relevant to evaluate neuronal cell functioning and can be considered reliable markers of the developmental phenotype of human striatal primordium. Our results have demonstrated that BDNF and FGF2 induced membrane hyperpolarization, increased the membrane capacitance and reduced the resting total and specific conductance values, suggesting a more efficient control of resting ionic fluxes. Moreover, the treatment with both neurotrophins enhanced N-type Ca(2+) current amplitude and reduced L- and T-type ones. Overall, our data indicate that BDNF and FGF2 may help HSP cells to attain a more functionally mature phenotype.
- Expression of 14-3-3 transcript isoforms in response to ethanol exposure and their regulation by miRNAs. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jun 28.:44-49.
The 14-3-3 proteins are a family of highly conserved molecular chaperones involved in the regulation of a number of key cellular functions including metabolism, stress response, protein trafficking, cell-cycle control, signal transduction, transcription, apoptosis and neurotransmission. 14-3-3 proteins have also been implicated in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. Recent studies have also shown that 14-3-3s are differentially expressed in the frontal cortex of human alcoholics suggesting a potential role in the pathophysiology of alcohol use disorders. Here we measured the expression of 14-3-3 transcripts in HEK293T cells in response to chronic ethanol treatment. Five of the seven transcripts (14-3-3β, 14-3-3γ, 14-3-3ζ, 14-3-3ε and 14-3-3θ) were significantly down-regulated following chronic exposure to ethanol for a five day period with these changes persisting even after withdrawal from ethanol treatment. One transcript, 14-3-3σ, was significantly up-regulated following chronic ethanol exposure and 14-3-3η showed no differences in expression in the same treatment model. The pattern of expression changes is similar to those seen in the frontal cortex of human alcoholics. To investigate the role of miRNAs in mediating the expression changes we measured the expression of the 14-3-3 transcripts following transfection with miR-203, miR-144 and miR-7 mimics. Although these miRNAs had predicted target sites in the 3'untranslated region of each 14-3-3 isoform, only miR-203 resulted in a down-regulation of 14-3-3θ transcript. In addition, the expression of 14-3-3γ was upregulated following transfection with miR-7 and miR-144 mimics. MiRNA regulation of these isoforms following alcohol exposure may lead to alterations in neurotransmission, the balance between cell survival and cell death, as well as changing the rewarding effects of alcohol.
- LRRK2 interferes with aggresome formation for autophagic clearance. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jun 28.:71-80.
Autosomal-dominant mutations in the gene encoding leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) account for the most common monogenic form of Parkinson's disease (PD). A link between autophagy dysregulation and LRRK2 has consistently been reported, but it remains poorly defined which step is targeted by LRRK2. Here, we sought to examine the effect of LRRK2 on the sequestration and degradation of aggregated protein complexes for autophagic clearance. Because two major intracellular protein degradation systems, the ubiquitin proteasome system and the autophagy, are functionally coupled, proteasome inhibition is suggested to activate autophagy. So, we induced protein quality control-associated autophagy using the proteasome inhibitor MG132 in differentiated SH-SY5Y cells and mice expressing G2019S mutant LRRK2 to uncover how the autophagy pathway is affected by LRRK2. We found that LRRK2 disrupted aggresome formation for autophagic clearance of accumulated protein aggregates. Specifically, we observed the following in differentiated SH-SY5Y cells with overexpressed wild-type and G2019S LRRK2: 1) large, clear, perinuclear aggresomes were not detected under MG132, instead, much smaller aggregates were broadly distributed in the cytosol; 2) enhanced accumulation of LC3-II and p62/ubiquitin-positive protein inclusions were noted; and 3) protein aggregates were not cleared even after a recovery period, which exacerbated the MG132-induced cytotoxicity. Notably, higher protein accumulation was detected in the brains of G2019S transgenic mice than in the brains of littermate control mice under proteasome inhibition. Our present findings provide insight into the precise mechanisms that underlie autophagy dysregulation in the brains of patients with PD with LRRK2 mutations.
- MicroRNA-1-associated effects of neuron-specific brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene deletion in dorsal root ganglia. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jun 21.:36-43.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression in physiological as well as in pathological processes, including chronic pain. Whether deletion of a gene can affect expression of the miRNAs that associate with the deleted gene mRNA remains elusive. We investigated the effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) gene deletion on the expression of miR-1 in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and its pain-associated downstream targets heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) and connexin 43 (Cx43) in tamoxifen-inducible conditional knockout mice, Bdnf(fl/fl); Advillin-CreER(T2) (Bdnf cKO).Efficient Bdnf gene deletion was confirmed in DRG of Bdnf cKO mice by Real-Time qRT-PCR and ELISA 10days after completed tamoxifen treatment. In DRG, miR-1 expression was reduced 0.44-fold (p<0.05; Real-time qRT-PCR) in Bdnf cKO compared to floxed wildtype littermate control Bdnf(fl/fl) mice (WT). While Hsp60 protein expression was increased 1.85-fold (p<0.05; Western blot analysis), expression levels of Cx43 and the miR-1-associated transcription factors MEF2a and SRF remained unchanged. When analyzing Bdnf cKO mice 32days after complete tamoxifen treatment to investigate whether observed expression alterations remain permanently, we found no significant differences between Bdnf cKO and WT mice. However, miRNA microarray analysis revealed that 167 miRNAs altered (p<0.05) in DRG of these mice following Bdnf gene deletion.Our results indicate that deletion of Bdnf in DRG neurons leads to a temporary dysregulation of miR-1, suggesting an impairment of a presumable feedback loop between BDNF protein and its targeting miR-1. This appears to affect its downstream protein Hsp60 and as a consequence might influence the phenotype after inducible Bdnf gene deletion. While this appears to be a MEF2a-/SRF-independent and transient effect, expression levels of various other miRNAs may remain permanently altered.
- Valproic acid exposure sequentially activates Wnt and mTOR pathways in rats. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jun 23.:27-35.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, limited verbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Recent studies have demonstrated that Wnt signaling and mTOR signaling play important roles in the pathogenesis of ASD. However, the relationship of these two signaling pathways in ASD remains unclear.We assessed this question using the valproic acid (VPA) rat model of autism. Our results demonstrated that VPA exposure activated mTOR signaling and suppressed autophagy in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum of autistic model rats, characterized by enhanced phospho-mTOR and phospho-S6 and decreased Beclin1, Atg5, Atg10, LC3-II and autophagosome formation. Rapamycin treatment suppressed the effect of VPA on mTOR signaling and ameliorated the autistic-like behaviors of rats in our autism model. The administration of VPA also activated Wnt signaling through up-regulating beta-catenin and phospho-GSK3beta. Suppression of the Wnt pathway by sulindac relieved autistic-like behaviors and attenuated VPA-induced mTOR signaling activation in autistic model rats.Our results demonstrate that VPA exposure sequentially activates Wnt signaling and mTOR signaling in rats. Suppression of the Wnt signaling pathway relieves autistic-like behaviors partially by deactivating the mTOR signaling pathway in VPA-exposed rats.
- Linckosides enhance proliferation and induce morphological changes in human olfactory ensheathing cells. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jun 22.:1-13.
Linckosides are members of the steroid glycoside family isolated from the starfish Linckia laevigata. These natural compounds have notable neuritogenic activity and synergistic effects on NGF-induced neuronal differentiation of PC12 cells. Neurogenic factors or molecules that are able to mimic their activities are known to be involved in the survival, proliferation and migration of neurons and glial cells; however how glial cells respond to specific neurogenic molecules such as linckosides has not been investigated. This study aimed to examine the effect of three different linckosides (linckoside A, B and granulatoside A) on the morphological properties, proliferation and migration of human olfactory ensheathing cells (hOECs). The proliferation rate after all the treatments was higher than control as detected by MTS assay. Additionally, hOECs displayed dramatic morphological changes characterized by a higher number of processes after linckoside treatment. Interestingly changes in microtubule organization and expression levels of some early neuronal markers (GAP43 and βIII-tubulin) were also observed. An increase in the phosphorylation of ERK 1/2 after addition of the compounds suggests that this pathway may be involved in the linckoside-mediated effects particularly those related to morphological changes. These results are the first description of the stimulating effects of linckosides on hOECs and raise the potential for this natural compound or its derivatives to be used to regulate and enhance the therapeutic properties of OECs, particularly for cell transplantation therapies.
- The Rac-GAP alpha2-chimaerin regulates hippocampal dendrite and spine morphogenesis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jun 11.:14-26.
Dendritic spines are fine neuronal processes where spatially restricted input can induce activity-dependent changes in one spine, while leaving neighboring spines unmodified. Morphological spine plasticity is critical for synaptic transmission and is thought to underlie processes like learning and memory. Significantly, defects in dendritic spine stability and morphology are common pathogenic features found in several neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. The remodeling of spines relies on proteins that modulate the underlying cytoskeleton, which is primarily composed of filamentous (F)-actin. The Rho-GTPase Rac1 is a major regulator of F-actin and is essential for the development and plasticity of dendrites and spines. However, the key molecules and mechanisms that regulate Rac1-dependent pathways at spines and synapses are not well understood. We have identified the Rac1-GTPase activating protein, α2-chimaerin, as a critical negative regulator of Rac1 in hippocampal neurons. The loss of α2-chimaerin significantly increases the levels of active Rac1 and induces the formation of aberrant polymorphic dendritic spines. Further, disruption of α2-chimaerin signaling simplifies dendritic arbor complexity and increases the presence of dendritic spines that appear poly-innervated. Our data suggests that α2-chimaerin serves as a "brake" to constrain Rac1-dependent signaling to ensure that the mature morphology of spines is maintained in response to network activity.
- High-throughput screening in the C. elegans nervous system. [REVIEW, JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jun 3.
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is widely used as a model organism in the field of neurobiology. The wiring of the C. elegans nervous system has been entirely mapped, and the animal's optical transparency allows for in vivo observation of neuronal activity. The nematode is also small in size, self-fertilizing, and inexpensive to cultivate and maintain, greatly lending to its utility as a whole-animal model for high-throughput screening (HTS) in the nervous system. However, the use of this organism in large-scale screens presents unique technical challenges, including reversible immobilization of the animal, parallel single-animal culture and containment, automation of laser surgery, and high-throughput image acquisition and phenotyping. These obstacles require significant modification of existing techniques and the creation of new C. elegans-based HTS platforms. In this review, we outline these challenges in detail and survey the novel technologies and methods that have been developed to address them.
- Polysialic acid enters the cell nucleus attached to a fragment of the neural cell adhesion molecule NCAM to regulate the circadian rhythm in mouse brain. [Journal Article]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2016 Jul.:114-27.
In the mammalian nervous system, the neural cell adhesion molecule NCAM is the major carrier of the glycan polymer polysialic acid (PSA) which confers important functions to NCAM's protein backbone. PSA attached to NCAM contributes not only to cell migration, neuritogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and behavior, but also to regulation of the circadian rhythm by yet unknown molecular mechanisms. Here, we show that a PSA-carrying transmembrane NCAM fragment enters the nucleus after stimulation of cultured neurons with surrogate NCAM ligands, a phenomenon that depends on the circadian rhythm. Enhanced nuclear import of the PSA-carrying NCAM fragment is associated with altered expression of clock-related genes, as shown by analysis of cultured neuronal cells deprived of PSA by specific enzymatic removal. In vivo, levels of nuclear PSA in different mouse brain regions depend on the circadian rhythm and clock-related gene expression in suprachiasmatic nucleus and cerebellum is affected by the presence of PSA-carrying NCAM in the cell nucleus. Our conceptually novel observations reveal that PSA attached to a transmembrane proteolytic NCAM fragment containing part of the extracellular domain enters the cell nucleus, where PSA-carrying NCAM contributes to the regulation of clock-related gene expression and of the circadian rhythm.